Thursday, 30 July 2009

Postcard Home

In 1955 my Aunt passed her driving test and in her very first car drove my Dad and my eldest brother across to Europe so that Dad could visit the War Graves of the friends he lost in the war.

This is the postcard that Dad sent home to my Mum who was pregnant with me that summer Isn't it amazing what you can find when you're trying to declutter.

School Days

If there is one thing guaranteed to drive me mad, it is stupid comments from parents that in their day school children were studious, hard working, god fearing, well dressed, respectful swots who would put the kids of today to shame.

According to them in 'my day' we spent so much time studying for our (much harder) 'O' levels that we had no time to chase boys, drink or experiment with illegal substances. These are the same people who won't let their children travel alone on public transport in case their little darling is whisked away by an asylum seeking paedophile, or even, heaven forbid, allow them to venture as far as local shop in case they meet an axe welding dope head who will rob them of their mobile phone.

Apparently we were better taught, in strict single sex god fearing schools that turned well balanced highly educated captains of industry. Well let me tell you I went to a very good Church of England Grammar School where the prefects as well as the teachers wore gowns all day. We were taught to respect our elders but to fear no man, we were sent into a world that didn't acknowledge sexual equality but with the confidence to believe that one day we might change it.

But we were no angels, some of us (naming no names) went out with boys, drank alcohol and even smoked and played poker in the caretaker's office.....not me I hasten to add, I was a good girl, (ok... I was a wimp) but some of us did. We ran out of school at the end of the day and hitched our skirts up and pretended that we were far more sophisticated than we could ever have dreamt of being. We cheeked our parents and thought that the world was against us.

We hated 'the system' and wanted change. We longed to be rebels and and 'show' the grown ups that we were a force to be reckoned with but instead we went to work or on to college. We conformed, we grew up and in time we became parents ourselves (some of us didn't even wait until we were married!!)

So the next time you are tempted to tut at the school kids who are messing about at the bus stop or who are trying to act as if they are 15 going on 25, cast your mind back to your own school days and if you are really honest you will smile a wry smile and hurry off home to put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Memory Lane

Long, long, ago, when the world was made in black and white, one summer we rented a caravan in Rhyl for our holidays.

Not that I can remember anything about it, but when I was sorting out the garage I came across these old photos showing my Nan, my eldest and youngest brothers and little old me sitting on my Mum's knee.

Where my other brother and sister there with us?

How did we all fit into that little van?

Did Dad take the photo and was he staying there too?

Is the holiday camp still there?

When did I stop being so dammed cute?

Are all my memories triggered by photos?

So many questions, what is a girl to do?

Easy, last week we took a trip down memory lane as part of our 'let's appreciate what's on our own doorstep before we move' travels. Although I remember bugger all about the holiday in question what I do remember is that North Wales was a very long way away from Liverpool. It seemed to take us days to get there but now we can pop out there for an afternoon - absolute madness - is the world getting smaller!!

Apparently there were six of us staying in that little van, unfortunately Dad and big brother couldn't stay as there was still the business to run but they did come out to visit us during the week.

Lyons Robin Hood holiday camp is still there and is still going strong but as you can see from their website the caravans on offer today are a lot bigger than the one we stayed in!

And apparently I'm still quite cute......

Friday, 17 July 2009

Lesley's Graduation

Yesterday was one of those perfect Summer days, the kind of day that when you are old and grey you remember as the kind of day that you should have all summer long. The sky was blue with just a hint of white fluffy clouds sailing across. The sun shone all day long, warming our skin and making everybody smile in that 'my god the sun shining in Yorkshire in July' kind of way.

Mum's had had their hair done especially and were wearing their prettiest floaty dresses and Dad's were suited and booted fit for a royal garden party. The scene was set for a day that was celebrating the culmination of years of hard work and years even harder partying. It was graduation day for the alumni of York 2009.

I was so proud I thought my heart would burst when Lesley walked onto the stage to collect her degree. In fact I was so emotional that I wasn't taking any chances with the only photos I had to take that day. I had prepped the shot and had the camera focused on the exact spot so that I could capture the moment for all time - the camera however had other ideas and went into sleep mode as soon as she set foot on the stage. In my blind panic (you try taking a photo with tears in your eyes!) I only managed to get a picture of a tiny dot walking across the stage- It's a good job that we had James as our 'official' photographer of the day for the rest of the pictures and we don't have to rely on my snaps as the only record.

As soon as I get the copies I will make an online album of the day to share with you. In the meantime you will have to make do with a picture of Lesley telling her brother that there is no way that she is going to pose for a photo with one of the famous York ducks - enjoy!

Congratulations Lesley - BSc extrodinaire

St George's Hall - Liverpool

Continuing our 'let's explore what we have on our own doorstep' travel theme, Dave I went went into Liverpool on Tuesday afternoon to visit St George's Hall.

The building has a fascinating history. In 1886 public money was raised for a building for festivals, meetings and concerts and the architect Harvey Lonsdale Elmes duly set to designing a wonderful building in the heart of the city.

However this was a time of boom for the city and with any great growth in population there is also exponentially a growth in crime and Liverpool needed it's own Assize's Court. So what did they do? well the only sensible thing, they had Elmes redesign one half of the building as a court replendant with it's own cells in the basement and the other half as a splendid ballroom with a tiled Milton Floor!!

As the guide said 'only in Liverpool' would this have been considered the 'sensible' option. I love this city.....

For a paoramic guide of the hall check out but be patient, it takes a little while to load but it's worth it!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Touring The North West (contd)

The Lowry Salford Quays


As part of our continuing 'tour'of the North West of England we went to Manchester this week. I enjoy our occasional visits to Manchester for the Christmas Fayres and the excellent shopping, but this time we thought that we would do the 'touristy' thing and visit
The Lowry Salford Quays

Like many docks in this country, containerization sounded the deathnell to the docklands in Manchester. It was no longer viable to ship goods up the Manchester Ship Canal to the heart of the city and the docks became a wasteland. With no brick warehouses to convert into trendy appartments and bars, Manchester City Council quickly realised that they would have to be forward thinking in their plans to regenerate the Salford Quays area. They called on the private sector to get involved with the regenration and building of the dockside apparments and in 2000 The Lowry was opened. It is a fine theatre in an iconic building and it set the stage for the future of the area which is now home to the Imperial War Museum of the North an exceptionally large Outlet Mall and the Media City which when it is completed in 2011 should house 5 departments of the BBC bringing 1500 jobs to the area.

We had a fine old time, after an al-fresco breakfast of warm croissant and coffee we strolled around the mall picking up a bargain or two before setting off across the bridge to the Imperial War Museum.

The only trouble with being a tourist in term time is the school parties. Now usually I don't mind being sorounded by kids following the 'trail' around museums and galleries and I even had a giggle the other week at the Tate when two young school boys were having a debate on whether or not the person who was staring intently at a picture next to them was a man or a woman. They were convinced that the person with eyeshadow and hair down to their bum was a girl but I felt that the five o'clock shadow and prominant adams apple rather gave the game away, but I digrees. KIds as a rule see things that us old folk often miss and it can be a joy to look at some exhibits through their eyes which haven't had the time to get as jaded as ours have. Unfortunately the buggers who where visiting the Prisoner of War exhibition at the IWM were just a pain in the bum and I for one didn't appreciate their constant whistling of the theme tune from The Great Escape, little sods.

Yesterday we had a 'memory lane' trip. When Mum and Dad were staying in their caravan in Formby, we often drove over to see them via Lydiate. It isn't the most direct route for us but it is the prettiest, especially at this time of the year when the sunflowers are just coming into their own and the road side flower stall is selling freshly cut flowers from their own fields. I used to love buying armfulls of sunflowers to share with Mum,and as a little homage to those days we stocked up on beautiful local grown vegetables at the Church View Farm Shop before spending a small fortune at the flower stall. Our house is now bursting with sunflowers and sweet william and we are going to feast on lots of fresh veg with our lamb for dinner tonight - I love summer-time!